Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Een Paleis Van Zand” (A Palace Of Sand).

Hi guys! 🙂

Today is the 32nd anniversary of one of my musical crushes – Cornelis Vreeswijk’s – death. I wasn’t even alive yet when he died, yet, in some respect, of all my music crushes I feel the closest to him, despite he is no longer my dominant crush since a couple of years. I just think our brains have a lot in common, despite you really wouldn’t think so at a first glance. 😀

I have no idea if I’ve ever posted any of his Dutch language music, but if not, the time has come today. As you may know from my earlier posts on him, he was Dutch but spent most of his life in Sweden, and most of his songs and poems are written in Swedish. But there are some Dutch ones too, and not only the translations of his Swedish works. The song I want to show you exists only in Dutch and is beautiful! Well, at least that’s my feeling. I don’t speak Dutch yet, although I am planning to and hoping for it very much, and I know lyrics are usually much more important, and the more so more interesting, in his music than the actual music, they never leave a neutral impression on me when I understand them, I always either love them or hate them (the latter is usually about the political and often the more strongly socially themed ones). This song I only understand in pieces, from what I know from Dutch, and from what sounds similar to English and Swedish. But I’m sure it must be really beautiful and it sounds so. So I hope you enjoy it too.

 

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Ann-Katrin, Farväl” (Farewell, Ann-Katrin) & Marie Fredriksson – “Ann-Katrin, Farväl”.

Hi guys! 🙂

So why not have a listen to another song by Cornelis Vreeswijk, plus a cover by Marie Fredriksson?

Again, we have a female character here, which comes up even more often in Vreeswijk’s songs and poems. The character of Ann-Kat(a)rin Rosenblad is based on his muse and friend who was Ann-Christin Wennerström. And, the portrayal of her that we get from all the songs with her in them is quite interesting and ambiguous. I like Ann-Katrin a lot and hearing this song always makes me sad. First, because it comes from Cornelis’ very last album, (Till Fatumeh – Rapport Från De Osaligas Ängder”) which was recorded about a month or so before his premature death (he died from liver cancer at 50). Secondly, because the song indicates that Ann-Katrin was a drug addict, amphetamine more exactly as in the case of Vreeswijk, though he was taking loads of other stuff as well. The lyrics have a kind of raw but at the same time rather elusive feel and I really regret that I’m not good enough in neither Swedish nor English to write an adequate English translation for you without risking a major linguistic catastrophe and a great prophanity, the more that there are none available online. The only thing that bugs me is the music style of it. Like, seriously, the lyrics on that last album are really captivating, you don’t have to agree with what he wrote and I most often don’t but his lyrics always have that captivating quality, but the musical arrangement of this album is mostly screwed. He maybe wasnät the greatest composer, but was such a great blues singer, and even managed to convince me to appreciate jazz a tiny little bit, and he was great at incorporating folk themes and motives in his music. And that last album is very much like classic 80’s pop, and this track is a great representation of it. I don’t like that at all and it clashes with the lyrics and generally with Cornelis’ actual musical style unbelievably! That turn to pop was motivated by that, after some years of relative fame, he had become forgotten and the way I understand it from what Iäve read he wanted to get the attention of people by doing something more… ahem, timely, or whatever, especially he wanted to attract younger people. It didn’t work, that is, he did get a lot of fame and largely from young people in Sweden after his death but not because those last two pop-ish albums did that, it was thanks to the Roskilde Festival where he played shortly before his death and, well, it looks like for artists it’s a common situation that they only get appreciated after they die. Perhaps that was better for him.

I like the expression of Marie Fredriksson’s interpretation of this song. I think in case of music, like, generally the arrangement, it’s her who wins here! But she’d never write as good lyrics as Vreeswijk did, haha. Marie Fredriksson’s cover again comes from the tribute album “Den Flyggande Holländaren”.

Cornelis Vreeswijk – “Felicia Adjö” (Goodbye, Felicia) & Marie Fredriksson – “Felicia Adjö”.

Hi guys! 🙂

I’m feeling a bit in a crush limbo right now. I have a gut feeling that my crush on Gwilym is fading slightly and it’s worrying me that there’s no one on the horizon that could become my dominant crush. Is this the end of crushes for me? Was my aunt seriously right that this is something all people grow out of, or am I getting more depressed or something? I can’t imagine not having a crush, it’s like driving a car that has no fuel, I’m getting a bit panicky. It’s either that I need to save my crush on Gwilym or I need someone new very very soon.

In the meantime, I’ve been looking back on all my delightful crushes lately. Reading all my elaborate diary entries about them and laughing my brain out – not that it was so funny but for some reason reading all that made me laugh, despite they’re still all my crushes, just faded more or less. – And I thought I’d share something from one of my crushes on my blog as well. So why not Cornelis? Also, because I find it really interesting to listen to people’s covers and interpretations of his songs, whether good or bad, just out of curiosity, it will be both the original version of a song by Cornelis Vreeswijk, and a cover by Marie Fredriksson. Yes, Marie Fredriksson from Roxette. She’s had a rich solo career as well, I guess mostly in Swedish. I am not a big fan of her at all, but she did this song in an interesting way, in her own style, and I used to like Roxette as a very, very little child. This was one of the first symptoms of my developing Swedish obsession, I just didn’t know many things Swedish apart from Roxette and Astrid Lindgren and I liked one song by them very very much, but generally Roxette and Marie Fredriksson are not my style, not anymore.

The song I want to share with you is called “Felicia Adjö”, and I guess is one of more popular songs of Vreeswijk. Felicia is a recurring character in his songs and poems, there is one whole album “Felicias Svenska Suite” in which Felicia is present in pretty much every song I guess. I wonder if she was based on someone in real life, like some of his other characters were but we’ll probably never know. The title translates as “Goodbye, Felicia”, but it has nothing to do with the “bye, Felicia” expression haha. The song is some 30 years older than the movie. Though I know that Vreeswijk’s Felicia was an inspiration for some Swedish writers, I guess there is a crime novel called “Felicia Försvann” (Felicia Disappeared) which is the beginning of this song.

And the song is about the fact that Felicia disappeared “As the bird from its nest. As the ice when the spring comes. As love when it’s hurt. As luck with no return”. She is dead like all of us will be some day, and with her, his last hope died, whoever the lyrical subject is.

The song had been re-recorded multiple times plus he played it live very often, but the first recording comes from the album called “Tio Vackra Visor Och Personliga Persson”, and I will share this one with you as is is the original. If I remember correctly, the album was recorded around the time when Cornelis played in the film “Svarta Palmkronor” (Black Palm Trees) in Brazil, and spent quite some time in South America, so this album is very much influenced by Brazilian music which you can hear in this song as well.

Marie Fredriksson recorded this song – as well as three others written by Vreeswijk – for the tribute album “Den Flygande Holländaren” (The Flying Dutchman).

So, there you have it, here is Felicia.

Music Monday Blog Party at the Bee’s.

So today Bee over at The Bee Writes

is making a blog party and encouraging us to celebrate our life and work, as well as the life and work of those musicians we love and who passed away too quickly.

I’ve had a busy day today, doing some preparations to my finals and having two hours long lesson with my maths tutor which brain drained me completely or so I felt, but I did carve out some time to celebrate my life.

I had two cups of strong black coffee (primarily to get rid of an awful headache I was having and raise my blood pressure, but also just because I love coffee so so much) and I’ve also had a brownie. Yummmm. Then I was listening to some music, about which I’ll write more in the next paragraphs. Then I had a quick shower, but although it had to be quick I was singing in the shower all the time, not the music I was listening to before though, but some Sandy Dennyäs songs. As I said before I felt pretty much brain drained in the morning, but now I feel really cheered up and relaxed, and I agree with Bee that we do need to celebrate our lives, and that we – as people, but particularly in my opinion, we as people struggling with all kinds of mental illnesses, should think about celebrating more often – we think so often about how we hate our lives so that I feel like we often just forget to think about how much is there to celebrate.

Now on to the musicians. I was wondering and wondering and wondering who to choose for this post. There are so many musicians I love, and so many of great musicians have passed away too early, too young. It’s always striking and shocking when it happens. To name a few of those whom I love, respect and listen to very often – Amy Winehouse, Sandy Denny, John Lennon or, very recently, Dolores Oriordan, they all could live much longer than they did. But finally I realised that my choice should be clear and obvious. Cornelis Vreeswijk.

Cornelis Vreeswijk lived 1937-1987, definitely too short. He’s been my previous music crush. When I say previous, I definitely don’t mean I no longer have a crush on him. When I get a music crush, it lasts long, and even if someone new appears, they aren’t replaced, just kind of suppressed by this newer crush, but still there, still alive in my brain. And when I say crush, I don’t mean what most people would probably mean by saying they have a crush on someone, or not only this. My crushes, besides being my crushes, are my deep fascinations, my inspirations, my motivators, and, as someone put it in a raw and beautiful way, my “antidote for pain” of any kind. And much much more.

Cornelis was Dutch, but he emigrated to Sweden at the age of 12 with his family, because of the war, and most of his artistic work was in Swedish and in Sweden. He was a singer, songwriter and guitarist, sometimes a composer too, but also a poet and, occasionally, an actor. He was my big inspiration ever since I heard his music for the first time and got to know him more. It was so impressive for me when I read how quickly he learned Swedish and became fluent in it, I wanted it for myself too, so started to see him a bit like my rival, in a positive sense, which, as I see it now, has really helped me to become good and confident at Swedish quickly. Well he had it easier, because Dutch is a Germanic language like Swedish and he lived in Sweden, and he was younger than me, and thatäs why Iäm the more proud of my results, being only once in Stockholm and having so many people complimenting me on my accent and how natural my Swedish seems to be. 😀 Well I don’t think it’s natural, but maybe Swedish people aren’t used to talk to foreigners that are as fluent as me. Also very early on in the development of my crush, I started to see how much in common he must have with me. Seemingly it could be even the opposite, he was a rebel, a drunkard, an extreme socialist – while I am a definite rightist, – famous for his countless sexual affairs and three very stormy marriages and other stuff of this kind, just you wouldn’t think we could have shared anything. But, as I was learning Swedish and learning about him, I was discovering there is a lot of things we share, from pretty small, odd coincidences like both our dads are professional drivers and both of us were constantly moving places as children 😀 to how we perceive the world, to how our personalities are like. I read about how much he didn’t feel safe anywhere, how, being so rebellious and controversial on the outside, inside he was very shy and struggled with incredibly low self-esteem and was very vulnerable and doubting his own possibilities all the time. He was constantly craving for a relationship with someone and for love, but when he finally was close to starting and building it, he was runing away desperately and in fear of closeness and intimacy. That all, and lots of other things, just sound so familiar, he, he, he. Maybe he also had AVPD? Thinking now… Well from some things I’d rather assume BPD, but I guess it’s not my thing to diagnose people, especially people that I didn’t know and that died years ago. 😀 Didn’t actually think about him having any PD’s before. But well anyway, I love his a bit cynical and untoward, perverse or pawky sense of humour, don’t really know how it’s exactly called in English. 😀 I love how he always noticed funny or weird details about people and situations and could read between the lines and describe it all in an interesting way. I love his approach to hard situations, complaining about them, but laughing them off at the same time. I love how he was able to play with the language.

And it all just inspired me so much that one night a crazy idea popped in in my head. Why not to translate his poems and song lyrics into Polish? That felt really crazy, but I loved the idea. And you know what? So far, I managed to translate 6 of his songs. These aren’t very good translations, but they are decent imo and still they rhyme and their verses are as long as original, so, I guess I did a good job. 😀 I haven’t translated anything in months now, I just get stuck somewhere anytime I try to translate something fully and can’t get out in any way, but I have a whole folder of drafts and unfinished pseudotranslations.

I can’t say I like/agree/relate to all of his lyrics. His views on most things were completely different than mine, so even if I like some of his political songs, I usually don’t agree with them or just don’t know what they’re really about since I’m not very familiar with Swedish politics in 70’s-80’s. But still I think he deserves to be known more widely, even if it wasn’t directly his goal. ANother thing is that I’m worried that it might be like planting bananas in Lapland – you know, he just won’t be understood here by other people than “Swedophiles – and man I’ve had countless dreams about how I translated a ton of his poems and published them and it was a massive failure, but, I guess I won’t know how it’ll be if I won’t try. So I hope I’ll manage to do it some day and that I won’t bungle it.

So I’ve already told you that he was drinking and having many relationship issues, he was married three times, was in prison, had economic issues, was smoking all the time and addicted to drugs and sedatives and other “comforters”, as my Mum calls them, he had also chronically issues in other kinds of relationships, not only romantic. He quitted drinking and smoking and all in 1985 when he was diagnosed with diabetes, but it didn’t help that much. Soon after it he was also diagnosed with liver cancer which destroyed him completely and so he died in 1987 (before I was even born! THAT’S SO UNFAIR!!! 😥 ), being lonely and in a very bad economic situation, having a bunch of dedicated fans, but generally being condemned by Swedish very politically correct society, though soon they discovered him and now they love him and he’s very famous there, so famous that I heard people in Netherlands telling he’s a Swede, although he doesn’t even have Swedish citizenship as far as I know.

So I’ve been listening to Cornelis’ music for the whole evening and now I have a great trouble deciding what to show you…

Well OK, I guess I already know, after another 15 minutes.

The song I want to show you is the first song by Vreeswijk I’ve ever heard, my Swedish teacher showed it to me and I was immediately lost, though I didn’t realise it back then yet. It has stuck in my head and even though I then had to have a long long break from learning Swedish, for years, I still remembered this song and its almost whole lyrics and after I rediscovered it, my full blown crush started and helped me indirectly to start with Swedish again. It is probably his most popular song. It’s called “Balladen Om Herr Fredrik Åkare Och Den Söta Fröken Cecilia Lind” (The ballad about Mr. Fredrik Åkare (Åkare means actually a driver) and the sweet maiden Cecilia Lind). This is something I’m working on translating for a ridiculously long time but it’s terribly hard mainly because we don’t have enough words ending in -ind in Polish, that would rhyme with the heroine’s last name, and we generally have too few one-syllable words, I love Polish, but that sucks sooo much.

Below are the English lyrics I found on the Internet, this is a literal translation:

From Öckerö barn (on a farm) sounds of accordion and base are heard and the full moon’s shining as if it was made of glass.
There Fredrik Åkare dances cheek to cheek
with little miss Cecilia Lind
She dances with closed eyes near (to him)
She follows in the dance right where he wants.
He leads and she follows light as a breeze,
but tell (me) why is Cecilia Lind blushing?
Say, was it because of what Fredrik Åkare said:
“You smell so good and you dance so well.
Your waist is thin and your bosom is round
You’re so beautiful, Cecilia Lind
But the dance ended and where could they go?
They lived so close to each other anyway
Finally they ended up at Cecilias gate
Now I want to be kissed, said Cecilia Lind
[You should] Know shame, Frederik Åkare, be ashamed old man!
Cecilia Lind is only a child
Pure as a flower, shy as a doe
I will soon turn 17, said Cecilia Lind
And the stars wander and the hours pass
And Fredrik is old, but the moon is new
Yes, Fredrik is old, but love is blind
Oh, kiss me again, said Cecilia Lind

And here’s the song:

Song of the day – Pugh Rogefeldt – Grimasch om morgonen.

Hi! 🙂

Today I share with you another version of this fabulous song – “Grimasch Om Morgonen” – written and originally performed by Cornelis Vreeswijk. This is a cover made by Swedish singer Pugh Rogefeldt.

Song of the day – Sofia Karlsson – Grimasch Om Morgonen.

Hi! 🙂

A month or so ago I shared with you this song in its original version, performed by Cornelis Vreeswijk, my previous musical crush whose poetry I would love to translate into Polish sometime in future, it is my very big dream. Also I’ve made an attempt to translate that song into English, which you can see here

. But today I wantd to share with you this song in another stunning performance. Anything by SOfia Karlsson is stunning, but since I love Vreeswijk’s music and poetry so much, this is my favourite song I’ve heard by her. Hope you’ll like it too, She’s so expressive.

Song of the day (2nd February) – Cornelis Vreeswijk – Grimasch Om Morgonen.

So the song for Friday will be again quite exceptional. It is one of my favourite songs of a man whom I really admire for his poetic talents and generally for his artistic skills and who was my third musical crush. His name is Cornelis Vreeswijk, he comes from Netherlands, but lived and created in Sweden for most of his life, so spoke Swedish fluently. He was a singer, poet and actor and is beloved and famous in Sweden. He lived in 1937-1987. Was quite controversial, being an extreme left-winger, alcoholic etc. Honestly, being a rightist, I disagree with many of his views, but I love his sense of humour, intelligence and how he can describe the world, people, the life, feelings and stuff in an often very straight-away manner, but also with some melancholy at times. I have a whole file with all my favourite quotes of him. One of my big future dreams is to translate some of his works into Polish. Until now, I’ve translated a few of his poems, but the effects are rather miserable.

It’s hard to introduce Cornelis to people who don’t speak any Swedish, as the beauty of his music lies mainly in lyrics, his music is good too, but as he wasn’t a big composer it isn’t always as good as his lyrics, so people with no Swedish have it hard to understand what I actually see in him and his music. But I’ll try my best to show you. And besides his guitar skills were also very good and in this particular song you can hear it very well.

So as I said “Grimasch Om Morgonen” is my favourite song from Cornelis’ discography, I think it’s really beautiful, but also quite sad, bitter and even a bit cynical. Maybe that’s why I love it too.

So to lessen the language bareer at least a bit, I’ll do my best to translate it into English, however, keep in mind, that I am not a native speaker in neither of these languages, so it may not be a masterpiece and probably won’t be.

Now the dew is falling and the sun is rising

But you can’t hear it

You’re lying without blouse or skirt on

With your lips close to my ear

Be serious, you firmly ask

You’re laughing out songs and singing jokes

You can, but don’t want to write

a song about the fragile happiness

Now the sun is rising and the dew is falling

for the poor people and for the rich.

But Luck has a poisoned thorn

that you need to carefully avoid.

She (the Luck) happily lingers for a few days

but when you want to capture her

her eyes turn cold as ice

and you become as bitter as bile

Now the dew is falling without a sound

and grass and leaves become wet

And every morning, the sun is the bride

though no wedding hymns sound

Ann-Katarin, you should know that

there is a certain happiness which dies from laughter.

But it wants to be held at night

And then it becomes as quiet as water.

Get up from bed now, Ann-Katarin

and listen to something important.

There is a special kind of rare wine

that you should enjoy cautiously.

For if you drink it carelessly

it loses its former shine

And all you have got left is an empty bottle

of bitter tears and ashes.

 

Here’s the song: